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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

INTRODUCTORY   ESSAY.                               129
This range of the Ghats is sufficiently lofty and abrupt to
produce a heavy rain-fall during the south-west monsoon;
between May and September this is in some parts immense,
and only rivalled by that of Malabar and the Khasia hills in
East Bengal. At Mahabalcshwar, it amounts to 2-18 inches
annually. In the Southern CoHcan, especially in the Sawaui
Wari district, the rains are as heavy as in Canara. At Bom-
bay, the rains last from June till the end of September, and
the fall is only 80 inches, which is considerably less than
at any point further south on the coast. At Tannah, how-
ever, the average faD is more than 100 inches. During the
north-east monsoon, which blows from November till March,
the climate is dry compared with that of Malabar, the change
commencing rather suddenly where the mountains are lowest
and most distant from the coast-. At Bombay there are re-
gular sea-breezes in the afternoon, so that the atmosphere'
never becomes extremely ar,id.
The change of climate, marked by diminished mean tem-
perature, a lower winter temperature, and greater drymss,
which accompanies the increased distance from the Equ'itor,
has a decided influence on the vegetation. The whole Cou-
can is hence more open than Malabar,Alieavy forests are rarer,
many tropical Malayan forms disappear, and the most mois-
ture-loving types of vegetation linger only in the damp re-
cesses of the mountains. A rich cultivation replaces the fo
i»cst in the valleys especially, and the dense jungle?* arc con-
fined more or less to the lower slopes of the main chain. In
the more open parts there is a remarkable mixture of African
types; instead of the luxuriant Acanthacea of Southern In-
dia, there occur spiny-leaved species, similar to Abyssinian,
and Arabian ones. Curious Umbellifera, allied'to.no others
in India, accompany these, as well as a great variety of forms
typical of the north tropical African vegetation. The arid
flora of the Dekhan, of Marwar and Siiid, however, hardly
enters the Concan.
The Flora of the Bombay Presidency has only lately been